Biblical

Love Thy Neighbor

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Wow, that is a heated title! Why do we need to love our neighbor? God says so! This is one of God’s commandments and we need to obey it. What does it mean to love our neighbor though? Let’s take a look at this.

You know this command must be pretty important because in doing my research, I came across 10 verses that tell us to do this. I’ll list them here for you to check out for yourself…Matthew 19:19, Matthew 22:39, Matthew 5:43, Galatians 5:14, James 2:8, Mark 13.:31, Leviticus 19:18, Romans 13:9, Luke 10:27, and Proverbs 27:10. (We will be referencing some of these as we go along.)

Each time God references to love your neighbor He says to do so as you would love yourself. So, I suppose we should start with the fact that we should love ourselves. We shouldn’t want to cause ourselves harm or injustice. Therefore, we shouldn’t want to harm our neighbor or see injustice happen to them either. Who is our neighbor? Our neighbor is those around us. I’m going to take a step further and say that it also includes those who may live miles away from us and we only know them through social media, main stream media, extended family members, friends of friends, etc. Simply put, our neighbor is everyone who is not us! We should value them as a creation of God and as someone whom He loves and wants a relationship with. We should want them to know our God and to know that He loves them. We have to step out there and share with them the truths about God and His Word! Is it hard? Yes it is, but we are commanded to go out there and tell them, Matthew 28:19-20.

God puts a lot of stock in this command. In Mark 13:29-31, He tells the Scribes that they are to love the Lord, their God with all their heart and then secondly they should love their neighbor also. He said that these two commands are the most important of commands. If God puts so much stock in this command, then we should also. So what does this look like? Let’s take a look at what it looks like to love our neighbor.

Let’s start with the fact that we are to do this by loving them as we love ourselves. I know that some of you out there find it hard to love yourself. Why is that? Has someone else not shown you the Biblical love that God talks about? Have you allowed Satan to lie to you and tell you that you aren’t worth anything? Is someone not treating you badly or abusing you? First off, let me say, I’m sorry that this has happened to you and you haven’t experienced the right love. I want to let you know that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit do love you and I as a Christian do love you. You are worth something and God can use you to do great and mighty things. Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are beautiful…cuz God don’t make no junk….and that you are loved!! Tell yourself that no matter the circumstances your in that God can bring you out and use you to do His work. God has used many people over the years that have not been what we would consider great people or worthy people. He can use you and most importantly He loves you!!

After you get that settled, turn your mind to the fact that we should love on our neighbors and let them know that they too are loved and have value. We should be kind. We should speak kindly and act kindly to them. When you see them in need, you should help them in anyway possible. When others are tearing them down, you lift them up. Watch how you talk to others. If you wouldn’t tell yourself what you are thinking, don’t say it to them! If you wouldn’t treat yourself or a family member the way you were about to treat that person, don’t do it! God created all humans equally. He doesn’t regard one person more highly than the other. So neither should we. Should we go around speaking falsely about someone, NO! Should we shun a type of people, NO! We are to look at other people through the eyes of God.

Ok, hold on to your seat! I’m about to step on some toes, so put your steal toed shoes on!! In Matthew 5:43-48 God talks about another issue. He tells the people of the day in His Sermon on the Mount, that not only were they to love their neighbors but they were to love their enemies. Ouch!! That just seems like an unattainable request, doesn’t it? Is it? He tells them in verse 44, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.” He goes on to say in verse 46 & 47, “For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans (tax collectors) the same? And if ye salute (greet) your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?” OUCH! and OUCH! How easy is it to love our enemies? Not very! Can we do it without the help of Jesus, NO! We have to seek God daily to show us ways that we need to love on those that we consider enemies. That would include those people on social media that we don’t agree with. It includes those people who look different than you and who don’t think the way you do. It is also those family members that just don’t get it and who are always eager to start an argument. It’s okay if we don’t agree with them, but we shouldn’t harbor evil thoughts towards them. We should speak the truth out of love and be done with it. We should look for ways to show them God’s love and show them that He cares for them. We should always stand up for what is Biblically right , but we should relay that message in a kind and loving manner. I’ve seen a bunch of unloving words and behavior in the last 6 months and it is very disturbing. How is this sinful world going to ever know that there is another way if we don’t tell or show them?!

Christians, we need to be out there showing love to others. Masks, no masks, this shouldn’t be an issue of hate or harsh words. This should not stop us from shopping in an establishment. We should show love to those who are working there along with those who are shopping there also. Pandemic, no pandemic, we should be showing love to others through these hard times. We should be telling others that there is someone greater than their fear or worry. Sharing the love of God with others should be a simple task, but we Christians have made it a hard one. We listen to the world and are influenced by their ways and we don’t turn to the Word of God to see past it. Open the Bible and read it for yourself. Live it. Share it. Be the light that someone needs right now. Be the loving arm that shelters them in this hard time. Be the ear to hear, not speak, to their problems. Offer comfort, not hate. Show them who God is by being the example the world needs to see.

In conclusion, loving our neighbor may not always be easy, but it the most important thing, other than loving God, that we should be doing. Seek God today and let Him show you how to do this. Start issuing loving words instead of spewing hateful ones. Love on others, don’t offer hateful behavior.

Love in Christ,

 

 

 

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. ” John 13:34

“These things I command you, that ye love one another.” John 15:17

“Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” Romans 13:10

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18

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